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Reading for the Library: Meet Avani Narang!

A busy mother of a toddler, Associate Board member Avani is cruising through her TBR list—and she’s sharing her Read-A-Thon experience with us!

Are you reading as an individual or part of a team?

I am reading as part of a team, The Page Turners. I picked two power readers for my group! As a reader, it’s nice to have a team environment where you can get recommendations. Last year, people asked me for our booklists, and they started reading those books and were really happy with our choices. It’s great having a community of people to read with.

What’s your Read-A-Thon goal?

Our reading goal is 25 books, which I feel is reasonable. We encourage each other to read. We’ll say, “Let’s read. Let’s read. Let’s get a short book in there!” It may be ambitious but it’s kind of fun having that challenge and competition element in there.

What book are you on right now?

I am on book number ten. I finished my first book on April 18, which was the Read-A-Thon launch day, and I finished my tenth book over the weekend. This challenge is bringing a competitive side out of me that I didn’t know I had.

Have you always liked reading? How has Read-A-Thon helped you read more?

I’ve always found books balanced me out between work and real-life adult things, so I’ve always needed reading.

As a mom, it took a while for me to incorporate reading into my schedule again. I think when my son was around six or seven months old, I went back to my old habits. If anything, Read-A-Thon has helped me ensure reading is a part of my day. I always make sure that I’m reading—and now, my son loves reading, too!

What’s been your experience reading as a parent?

We have so many books at home, and he loves to pick up a book and read them. Since he was small, he’s always gravitated towards his books so we’re fortunate that way. He may one day love reading as much as I do!

We read a lot of children’s books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear – there’s a whole series of them now. I’ve read it a dozen times since Read-A-Thon started! (Can that count toward my reading goal?)

What are your favorite genres?

I try to read the notable books and all the things that people are talking about on NPR and other booklists, but if I pick a book to read myself, it’s generally fiction. Life is a little bit more exciting when I have a mystery in my hands.

Do you have a favorite Read-A-Thon read?

So far, Dava Shastri’s Last Day. I read the description and I didn’t think I’d like it, but I put it on my holds list on the Library app. I just finished it this weekend and I really enjoyed it. It had to do with a family saga and the idea of legacy. For me, as someone who works with my family’s business and within the philanthropic sector, a lot of the themes of the book hit home, especially now as I have a family and a son. It had the good, the bad, the ugly of familial situations and wanting to create some kind of lasting impact for your family. She was just such a dynamic character. It was a great read!

What’s your reading strategy? Do you read multiple books at a time?

For Read-A-Thon and to complete as many books as I can, I’ve been reading one at a time. It’s tough because sometimes I do have multiple books that I’m reading between my Kindle and my physical book pile.

What about as a team?

Last year we had a game plan, and we were kind of encouraging each other to log our books to make progress. This year, we’ve been pretty laid back about it because we’re such passionate and active readers. We didn’t really discuss a game plan—things are just going to fall where they fall in some respects. Without the pressure, it’s been easier to read more—which is why I’m already on book ten. I had a lot of books that I had requested from the library when Read-A-Thon started.

Any reading tips for fellow readers?

1. Read books that you want to read. It’s really tempting to use this opportunity to read the Lincoln biography or some giant text that someone has suggested is amazing but read what you want to read and then you’ll actually make the time.

2. Lean on your team or reading community. If you’re reading on a team or reading by yourself, find others that are trading recommendations. It takes the pressure off completing a book when you realize everyone is just having fun with it.

Why are you reading for Chicago Public Library?

I love being a part of the Library Foundation Associate Board. I fully believe in the mission of the Library and Library Foundation. Libraries were an important aspect of my childhood so reading for the Library just reminds me of that feeling I had as a kid when I’d find a new book or had a librarian pick a book for me. I’ve raised $300 so far!

Join Avani in powering our library when you donate to the Library Foundation and help raise $100,000 for critical services for Chicagoans of all ages.